Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More thoughts on apologetics and living the faith...

Here's a question: What do you do when you get stumped?

I was evangelizing a Bible-only Protestant acquaintance the other day, and he threw a question at me that, at the time, I had no answer for. (He was basically using Gospel quotes by Jesus to justify his not having to go church; that he can be a perfect Christian by himself, on his own, with his Bible.) Now I have great answers for that in abundance, after going home and doing a little basic reading, but at our meeting I was stumped. I was like, "That's a good question. Hmm... you're wrong, of course, but let me get back to you on that." *wink*

It wasn't a KO for him, and in my heart of hearts I do believe that this young gentleman will develop an interest in the Church soon enough -- he's a true intellectual, and he's only been into Christianity, on his own, for a few months -- but I wasn't feeling so confident in my Catholicity on the walk home.
I personally try not to get too discouraged about that kind of thing, especially right there on the spot. I certainly never deny being unsure. I generally say something along the lines of what I believe it would be (a lot of things are explainable through common sense) and say that this is what I would believe based on the teachings I know. I tell them honestly that I don't have anything specific at the time but that if they would give me a little time to produce some information from other sources that we could revisit the topic at another time.

I don't see that as a downfall anymore. I see it as a stepping stone not only for myself but for the other person. They see that we dont try to appear to know everything. We know we don't know everything and we're okay with admitting it. They also see that we're committed to finding Truth. We research carefully, give it careful consideration, and revisit the topic at another time. I personally see it as saying "Hey, you know what? I dont really know. Let me take the time to learn myself on it instead of trying to impress you or throw out something just to save my pride or my image."

I also think that it helps you to be better prepared next time. I don't think its good to beat ourselves up over a few topics that we are less familiar with. I used to sometimes think that I was pushing people away from Catholicism because I didnt know all the answers. The way I see it now is this: I will admit when I do not know the full answer. I will admit when I cannot say it as eloquently as someone else (and then I will provide something more eloquent). I will recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in myself and others to do good. I will not blame myself for a 'loss' when I am doing nothing wrong. I will recognize that it is the Holy Spirit that converts their hearts, not me. I know that as long as I do my best to find the answers for them that the Holy Spirit is more than capable of converting their hearts.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home